Back to School Part 2: Tips on What to Do Before Fall Semester Begins

Hello all! This blog post is Part 2 of my back-to-school blog series, and today we will be talking about general back-to-school tips that will be helpful to starting off the semester. Here are some things I suggest that you do before the semester officially begins:

Register for class/finalize your schedule. Make sure that you have registered for all your classes by now and that you have a finalized schedule for the fall semester.  

Create a professional email. Creating a professional email can be beneficial to you in many ways. Now that we are college students, it is important to create an email account that can be used for job applications, emailing your professors, etc. Try to incorporate your first and last name in your email. Sure you will also have a university email, but it is also important create your own. I like to forward all of my UIC emails to my personal Gmail account so that I can keep track of all my emails in one place!

Check out where all your classes are located. There is nothing worse than being late to class on the first day. One thing I did my freshmen year was that I made sure I knew the campus pretty well. I visited all the rooms of where my classes would be held at so I wouldn’t be in for any surprises the first day. Knowing where each class is can be helpful in knowing how long it will take you to get to one class to the next. This will also help you utilize your breaks more wisely!

See what books you will need for each class. Often times, you can find a course syllabus online and the professor will be nice enough to lists out all the books you will need. Another way to find out what text books you will need is to click on this link:

http://www.uic.edu/depts/oar/current_students/textbooks/allcrncomplete_FALL14.htm

Here, you can search all the books that you will need by matching your CRN for each class with the CRN on your schedule. You can also see how much each book would cost if you were to buy it new or used from the UIC Bookstore along with whether the textbook is required or not required. This will make ordering your books a lot easier for you. I suggest that you surf the web for better deals on books, and try to rent books if you would like to save some extra money. All you need to do is to type in the ISBN number of the required book to see which online stores have the best deals. Last year, I was told by upperclassmen that it was better if I waited and did not buy my books until after the first week of school to actually see if the professor wanted us to use the textbook. I found out that one of my professors never used the book in the class, while another based all their notes from the textbook, so they suggested we don’t have to purchase the actual book for those classes!

Get organized & prepare to make the grades. The best thing to do to get organized is to clean out everything! From your closet to your inbox, make sure to start getting organized. Organization is the first step to getting the grade. Believe me. Decide early on how you will keep track of classes, assignments and events. I like to make use of Google Calendar or a planner to make sure I have everything written down. Be sure to set early reminders for major assignments so you don’t get a reminder on the day it is due!

Create a resume. As a business student, it is probably a good idea to create a resume.  Your resume will go through many changes throughout your lifetime, and that is OK! Never had a resume before? Go online and check out sample resumes to get started--or make an appointment with a career adviser in the Business Career Center. You will need your resume to apply for many things. Be sure to upload your latest resume on UIC Careers, this will come in handy for future job openings!

Begin networking with students. You will hear many times how crucial it is for students to begin networking early on. UIC Business offers many opportunities to network with alumni throughout the year, so keep an eye out for programs like Alumni For You and Alumni Mentoring. Start building important contacts for the future!

Research what student organizations you would like to join. I recommend finding an organization that interests you. Joining a student organization is a great way to meet new people. One piece of advice that was given to me as a freshman was to join an organization that focuses on leadership activities. Jump a step ahead if you are ambitious to becoming a student leader in the organization! Not only will you learn how to work well in a team environment, but it will also shine bright on your resume. ;)

Make a LinkedIn account. Heard of LinkedIn? If not, LinkedIn is basically is professional networking website where you can connect with your classmates, professors, and perhaps even future employers. Set up your LinkedIn account: Here.

Create a budget. Creating a budget will allow you to keep better track of your money, and creating budgets is a good habit to get into. Want to learn how to save money when on a budget? Read my previous blog post: Here.

Be prepared for the Chicago weather. I made a mistake my freshman year one, by not carrying an umbrella the first couple weeks of school, and two, not buying a waterproof backpack. I suggest that we all carry an umbrella so that you can make your way to class without having to worry even if you have to walk all the way from Adams Hall to BSB!

And that's it for now, thanks for reading!

Mariya